Athletic Bilbao's Aritz Aduriz has called on Neymar to change his attitude after the pair clashed in Wednesday's Copa del Rey match at the San Mames.
Barcelona ran out 2-1 winners in the opening leg of the quarter-final tie, with Aduriz handing Athletic a lifeline with a late goal.
In the second half of the clash, Aduriz caught Neymar, having been bamboozled by a cheeky chip, and he seemed to scrape his boot across the 23-year-old's back and head when he stepped over him, per MailOnline Sport:
Following the encounter, the 34-year-old striker apologised to Neymar for "touching him a little," but he questioned the way the Brazilian conducted himself on the pitch, per Movistar + (via ESPN FC): "Neymar is a global star but at times I wish he had a different attitude. I did not go with intent to harm Neymar. These are things that remain on the pitch."
Munir El Haddadi and Neymar netted first-half goals during the Copa clash, and Barca looked set to take a comfortable 2-0 lead into Jan. 27's second leg at the Camp Nou.
However, in the 89th minute, Dani Alves conceded possession deep in his own half, and Aduriz converted from the subsequent attack.
Neymar received some rough treatment throughout the match, although he refused to blame the refereeing after the final whistle, per Movistar + (via ESPN FC): "When the match ends, everything is left on the pitch. At times they played hard and at others they did not. The referee is there to see it. I think the refereeing has been normal."
However, football writer Rafael Hernandez did notice a more petulant side to Aduriz emerging:
What’s up with Aduriz today!? Diving and kicking instead of trying to score goals.— Rafael Hernández (@RafaelH117) January 20, 2016
Although the Spaniard barely appeared to touch Neymar when he was on the ground, it did seem unnecessary for Aduriz not to avoid the former Santos star completely.
The tension will be rekindled in the second leg next week, and the tie is still very much on the line after Athletic's late strike.